- First, there’s a noise. The crack as the spoon breaks the thin crust of caramelized sugar to reveal the smooth creamy yellow beneath. This releases a smell like no other, both subtle and sensual: the sweetness of the slowly simmered milk, the fleshy fruitiness of the vanilla, the luxurious sugariness of the caramel. Then and only then, once your nose has flirted for long enough with the promise of physical pleasure, comes the tasting: the very slight bitterness of almond spreading over your taste buds, the velvety feel of cream rolling over your tongue. Crème brûlée is not just a dessert. It’s almost a sin.